The Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, on Monday queried the decision of Nigerian soldiers and the officials of the State Security Service who prevented the 21 freed Chibok girls from mingling with their families.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how the girls were prevented from meeting with or celebrating Christmas with their family despite arriving Chibok before the holidays.
A resident told PREMIUM TIMES that the heavily guided girls were instead isolated in the home of the member representing Chibok in the Borno State House of Assembly.
Apparently angered by the decision of the soldiers, Mr. Shettima gave his directive during a meeting with the girls in the presence of some soldiers in Chibok.
In a video exclusively obtained by PREMIUM TIMES, the governor directed the security officials to henceforth allow the girls meet with their families.
“As much as possible, let them mingle with their parents. No soldier or security man should be around them, give them that privacy.
“They have been without their parents for over two years, they deserve some privacy. I don’t want any soldier or SSS hanging around them. Let them have a full time with their parents,” Mr. Shettima said.
Mr. Shettima’s directive was similar to that of the presidency on the actions of the soldiers.
Presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu, had admitted to journalists that there were hitches arising from a lack of understanding of the objective of the trip on the part of some security operatives.
He said following the receipt of the complaint against the soldiers, a directive was given from the headquarters for the access by the parents to be eased.
“If the situation persists, please let us know so that the higher authorities will make a further intercession,” Mr. Shehu said.
At his meeting with the girls, the governor thanked the security personnel and presented each of the girls a Christmas gift before directing that the girls and their parents be moved to Maiduguri where he would host them and ensure they have quality time.
The 21 girls were freed in October after negotiations between the government and Boko Haram. Scores of girls, students of Chibok government secondary school kidnapped in 2014, still remain with the terrorists.